Sometimes when you go on trips you instantly feel at home or on the other hand you feel completely uneasy, its never really anywhere in between. When we landed in Santiago I quickly became aware of how this maybe that trip. The place is vibrant, full of people and charged with energy, after being here a day or two we suddenly found our selves in the middle of a protest for student loans/fees which then turned into a full on riot (nothing new to Chile). Everything seemed normal to every single Chilean here but to us it was a total war zone. Our hotel which was situated in the middle of this mess got completely fucked over.
They smashed the front glass doors and took what furniture they could find so they could burn it in the street. As this is going on, hoards of armoured trucks are flying down the street firing tear gas at the masked rioters.
Myself, Bruno, Sean and Stevie were trapped outside, the hotel was a no go zone so we fled with the crowd who were trying to attack everything. Traffic lights came down, shop shutters were broken and the destruction continued street after street. Dogs were going crazy (Chile has more stray dogs per person) and they seemed to love the tear gas.
We are not on our own out here though, we have a great amount of support from the riders and the distribution, without them we would be lost. The scene is a strong one, a big one, its actually fanatical compared with other countries in a totally positive way.
Since the riot we’ve witnessed knife fights in the streets and dogs being run over and left for dead in the street. We’ve seen the most amazing hospitality from the local riders and we’ve eaten some classic Chilean dishes, Stevie damaged his hand pretty bad on the first trick he tried which was also in the middle of an afternoon riot, we’ve still got another 4 days here and Ill bet any money that this story has a few more twists and turns.
Heres some photos so far.
Bruno on the snaggy tooth mid line in Valparaiso.
This was the morning riot, tame compared to the evenings events.
Bruno starting off another line
Waiting for the front line to make a move.
Ryan Scott, tear gassed fully in the face then taking postition as Stevie tries a line that ended up in a fucked up thumb.